GLOBAL FLYER - 40 HOUR DIARY - Wednesday 2 March 2005     Press Association

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LATEST NEWS - STEVE CROSSES MOROCCAN MOUNTAINS EN ROUTE TO HAWAII AFTER SERIOUS FUEL LOSSES.

 

 

After 42 hours of flight, following the loss of 2,600 lbs of fuel in the early stages of the flight, Steve Fossett has decided to cross the Pacific Ocean at least as far a Hawaii.

 

Despite the earlier loss of fuel that means Steve may possibly not make it back to Salina, he will aim to get as far a Hawaii where he will re-assess the situation. Steve and Mission Control are taking one step at a time.

 

Steve is nearly in daylight and will to continue have 100 knot tailwinds assisting his flight until Hawaii. After this point, however, the winds are expected to be only around 40 knots, which could cause problems as Steve needs at least 58 knots to make his fuel last all the way in.  Mission Control have also advised Steve to slow his flight speed down to increase overall efficiency, and to conserve fuel.

 

Steve's view was that he was still "very hopeful" of making it back to Salina.  The pumping of fuel between tanks will continue. The wing tip tanks have been drained and the pumping of fuel from the mid-wing tanks is nearly complete.  Sir Richard Branson said of the situation: "I think it's too soon to be confident that he'll make it all the way around the world... I think by the time he reaches Hawaii we'll have a pretty good idea of whether he'll make it."

 

 

 

Fossett flight bid on track  10:06AM

 

 

Steve Fossett's Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer passes over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

GlobalFlyer over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

 

 

American adventurer Steve Fossett flew over the Middle East today after overcoming a navigation equipment problem that threatened to derail his historic bid to make the first non-stop flight around the world without refuelling. Fossett, who took off from here in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer yesterday for a flight expected to last between 60 and 80 hours, said he had to deal with a number of "dramas" during takeoff but the flight was going well overall.

 

At 2200 GMT (0900 AEDT Wednesday) Fossett was at 14,383 metres and had been in the air for nearly 24 hours. The GlobalFlyer was over Egypt heading east towards Saudi Arabia at speeds of around 630km/h. Earlier in the day, in a radio hook-up with reporters at Mission Control in Salina, Fossett said he had a "good chance" of completing the record-breaking flight.  He said the takeoff of the GlobalFlyer, which is essentially a flying gas tank - 83 per cent of the total weight is fuel - had been difficult. "It had a lot of dramas in the launch, dramas with equipment failures that had to be solved," Fossett said.

"The plane was much slower than I expected but fortunately the plane picked up speed and I didn't have to abort," he said.  The most serious problem was a temporary failure of the Global Positioning System, or GPS, Fossett's satellite navigation aid.  "This was my sole source of navigation so this was very serious," he said, adding that the GPS had not functioned for about half of his flight over Canada. "I believe it was an antenna problem," Fossett said.

 

He cautioned that other problems could arise and there was still a long way to go. "There may be new things that come up so there's no real basis for confidence," he said, "but I'm happy with the situation".  At Mission Control, flight controllers were carefully monitoring fuel consumption.

"One of the critical factors we are monitoring is the amount of fuel he has left," said project manager Paul Moore. "He's eaten quite substantially into his fuel (so far) but that's as we expected."  Moore said the GPS problem had been potentially fatal to the flight. "This could have been a showstopper," he said. "This was really a big worry as we are unable to fly without GPS especially when were out of radio range.  "Steve was essentially flying blind," Moore said. "Happily, after a couple of hours of malfunction the GPS system did reengage."

 

 

 

Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer

 

 

Moore said cabin pressure was good and the temperature in the cramped cockpit was 18 degrees Celsius. "His feet are a bit chilly," said Moore.  The three-day journey will test the endurance and piloting abilities of Fossett, a 60-year-old millionaire who has set dozens of world records and world firsts with jet aeroplanes and gliders, hot air balloons and sailing.

 

At takeoff, the 1522kg single engine aircraft was carrying nearly 8636kg of fuel in 13 tanks for the 37,260km journey at altitudes as high as 15,850 metres.  British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways, is funding the GlobalFlyer and the is part of the Mission Control team monitoring the flight.  The GlobalFlyer was designed by aviation legend Burt Rutan, who recently made headlines when his SpaceShipOne won the $US10 million ($A12.73 million) "X Prize" for sending a privately-designed craft into space twice in two weeks.

 

Rutan also designed the Voyager, which was used by his brother Dick Rutan and Jeanne Yeager in 1986 to set a record of nine days for a non-stop, non-refuelled flight around the world.

Fossett hopes to beat that record by making it in less than 80 hours, and by doing it on his own.

 

 

 


 

Steve Fossett began his world navigation attempt Monday 1 March 2005

 

 

 

 

PLEASE USE THE LINKS ABOVE TO FOLLOW STEVE FOSSETT'S  WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

 


 

 

GLOBAL FLYER LINKS :

 

 

Home  Latest News  About the Attempt  About the Aircraft  Steve Fossett  Sir Richard Branson 

 

  Virgin Atlantic  Press Area

 

About the Aircraft  Steve Fossett Biography  Richard Branson Biography  Virgin Atlantic

 

 

ARCHIVES :

 

Kansas start for Virgin attempt  06 Dec 04 |  Science/Nature

SpaceShipOne rockets to success  04 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature

Burt Rutan: Aviation pioneer  04 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature

Hopes soar for solo record plane  14 Aug 04 |  Science/Nature

Testing begins for global plane  12 Mar 04 |  Science/Nature

Wraps come off solo record plane  08 Jan 04 |  Science/Nature

 

OTHER RELATED LINKS:

 

Fossett flies

Where is he now

 

 

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